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Plutarch too mentions6 the Zeus of Labranda, and finds it surprising that he holds not the sceptre and thunderbolt but the double axe. This axe, he says, was taken from the Amazon Hippolyte by her conqueror Heracles, who gave it to the Lydian Omphale; so it reached the treasury of the kings of Lydia, and then Gyges carried it away to Caria. 4 Hecatomnos was satrap of Caria from 387; after him came Mausolus (377-353), married to his sister Artemisia, then Idrieus and his sister Ada. 18 THE TWOFOLD GODS Neither Herodotus nor Plutarch mentions what seems to us the strangest detail—the breasts, and the bisexuality which the breasts imply.
The name of Omphale denotes the centre of the human body, the intersection of its two axes, the root of life, the cord which binds the child to its mother and which represents the destiny of each one of us. This constellation of metaphors will perhaps provide us with a key for the deciphering of her legend. In speaking of the feminine aspects of Dionysos, we rim the risk of evoking the slender, languid adolescent of the Hellenistic age, which often leaves us wondering whether we are looking at a Bacchus or a Hermaphrodite; the insipid distortion of an archaic conception which reveals Dionysos not as effeminate, but in the full power of his double nature.
She becomes the tyrant Kaineus, plants her spear in the middle of the market-place, and orders that all shall pay it divine honours and swear by it. Zeus decides to punish this impiety and raises the Centaurs against Kaineus, whom they overwhelm with tree-trunks. Conquered though still invulnerable, he is buried alive. 'Struck down by green fir branches', says Pindar, 'Kaineus kicked the ground and disappeared in the cloven earth'. The kernel of the story seems here again to be a rite involving exchange of garments.